Balance, Pain

“A responsible way to treat patients, pain”

WebsterLynn Webster MD has been hauled over the coals of recent time for sharing honestly his many years of experience treating people with chronic pain, treatment regimens that often included the use of opioids.

In an opinion piece published in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, he powerfully states a firm case for the use of opioids in the treatment of pain from his position as President-elect of the American Academy of Pain Management.

To quote from the piece:

The anti-opioid climate already has resulted in the denial of medication to suffering patients. In many cases, doctors acknowledge a reluctance to prescribe opioids, even when they know a patient is in intense pain, simply because they do not want to be perceived as irresponsible or risk sanctions. And patients sometimes forgo asking for help because they do not wish to be perceived as a drug abuser or because they have come to accept a prevailing view that looks dimly on anyone with a vial of “narcotics” in the medicine cabinet.

I urge you to read his opinion and to share it widely.

Well done, Dr Webster!

(and thank you MSJ for publishing the piece, thanks reflected in the comments).

About Pain policy & palliative care

Improving global pain relief by achieving balanced access to opioids worldwide


4 thoughts on ““A responsible way to treat patients, pain”

  1. There is another consequence of the anti-opioid fervor traversing the United States. There are increasing reports of people with chronic pain being denied any consideration of opioids until and unless the patient undergoes a series of costly injections. I have been apprised of more than one person who has been so coerced to undergo these invasive procedures, which clearly have life threatening and life-altering consequences. Such coercion in NOT to be equated with the true practice of medicine, but it is the reality that confronts people who are disabled by chronic pain as a PREREQUISITE to being enrolled in what would be considered the traditional practice of medicine. The flip side of the anti opioid fervor is the epidural steroid and implanted stimulator frenzy! While both can contribute to the best we have to offer the pain victim, neither has all the answers. The fact remains that there is precious little regulatory oversight of the injection/device juggernaut, and there are virtually no physician sanctions for running shot-mills that clearly breach the human rights of those disabled by chronic intractable pain! Dr. Webster, like many of us who have elected to use opioids as the last resort for people who have failed all else and have no viable alternative, is a victim of the frenzy/fervor juggernaut. After all,in spite of irrefutable evidence of patient deaths from the injections there has never been an FBI/DEA raid on a shot mill! Even though the death rate from shots among the sub-population at risk, the chronic pain victim, far exceeds the death rate from opioid overdose death among the general population. I am not surprised by the attacks on Dr. Webster. I am saddened that his reasoned approach has become the target, but not surprised.

    The United States is not immune from policies that run roughshod on the human rights of those disabled by the disease of chronic intractable incurable chronic pain. Time and history will undoubtedly the current pain doctor/pain victim persecution right along with the Salem Witch Hunts of the 1600s. Both share the same fear based irrational underpinnings!

    Posted by painwithdignity | March 6, 2013, 12:38 PM
  2. I can only assume that the rampant abuse of opiates contributes to the denial of opiate distribution for patients who truly need it. Even though there are many people out there attempting to take advantage of the system, doctors should be adequately trained to determine who is really in need and who isn’t. To deny someone pain relief that needs it seems inhumane. It saddens me that doctors feel so much pressure from the DEA that they refuse to prescribe opiates for those who are suffering. I hope the medical community can turn this issue around. Thanks for the article, the information was quite informative.

    Posted by Jennifer | March 29, 2013, 6:19 PM
  3. It would be a sad day in America if chronic pain sufferers where limited to 90 days of pain relief then cut of of all opioid medication. What is a suffering person to do then suffer the rest of their life or just end their life because they know medications are available to make their life more comfortable but are being withheld from them because of a flawed petition put out by PROP.

    To say Moderate chronic pain is not worth treating with the same opioid medications as severe pain is like saying you can not get medication for moderate cancer but when the cancer gets severe that’s when you will be able to get treatment. Moderate chronic pain will eventually become severe if not treated in a timely fashion.

    I do believe these time released opiates should be tamper resistant or abuse proof but then again they need to work and not turn to sludge like OxyContin does making people sick to their stomach, when this happens the medication is then not worth taking and is ruined.

    People can easily stop at the nearest liquor store and pick up any intoxicating product ,consume alcohol and cause a fatal car accident. Yet we don’t have strict enough laws preventing this from happening. Deaths continue to happen every day from drunk drivers.

    We cant police the U.S. from abuse of opiates and meantime chronic pain patients should not have to pay the price in pain because people who abuse. Someone could easily tamper with thousands of other prescription medications and die as a result why are we singling out opiates, the only medications that give suffering people relief of their ongoing pain.

    When these long lasting opioid medications are made in to a tamper resistant formula this abuse will then go away and people that abuse opioids will go back to heroin. We still have the instant release opioid medications people can turn to and abuse, its a never ending saga , we cant make all opioid medications tamper resistant and we cant protect people who abuse these medications ,only so much can be done.

    Meantime chronic pain sufferers are finding it harder and harder to find medications that help them be as pain free as possible. Us that suffer from chronic pain are being treated like common addicts and criminals ,we never asked for this type life and it can happen to you in a flash.
    One mistake by another drunk driver can make you a chronic pain sufferer is a instant, just like that your life could be changed forever.

    Posted by Mark S. Barletta | April 7, 2013, 8:41 AM
  4. See our Facebook page We’re on your side. Help us stop the DEA’s inhumane war on pain relief for seriously ill Americans.

    Posted by George Sullivan | May 29, 2013, 10:32 PM

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